They say sculptors can look at a block of stone or metal and visualize what that unfinished hunk of material can be.
I am told that painters can do that too, they can look at an empty canvas and see the picture they are going to paint before it is painted.
Ask me if I can do the same with my writing and I’ll say…sometimes.
The lack of a definitive answer isn’t because I can’t say yes or no because I can.
I can see and heard the stories inside my head long before they hit the page but the thing is, sometimes the characters force me to change directions so what I really have is a basic outline.
Think of it as a rough map with not much more detail than North, South, East and West plus a couple of other odds and ends.
Steiner the Minor and I are playing Call Of Duty on the Xbox and my heart swells with pride because this boy of mine, this child is calling out orders and suggestions that make perfect sense.
He sees things I don’t and has ideas about how to handle the make-believe situations that don’t occur to me and I know that this kid is on track for something special.
“Dad, I’ll be the sniper. I’ll find a place to hide and pick them off one at a time. I am better at that than you are. You do a better job of wreaking destruction, go out and destroy.”
I smile and do as I am told.
The game is a pretty good example of how well we understand how to leverage our individual strengths and weaknesses.
But I don’t tell him I see an opportunity to use it as a teaching moment and insist that I take a turn at being the sniper.
“Dad, you were awesome. I can’t believe how patient you were.”
I tell him I like to take myself out of my comfort zone and push the limits by doing things I might not otherwise do.
His comment about patience is spot on, in this game I don’t like waiting. I want to push ahead and rain fire and destruction upon all that cross me.
I don’t spell out that it is a game and I don’t have to worry about trouble. There are infinite lives and it doesn’t matter what I do.
So I take my turn as sniper and demonstrate how I can adapt and adopt to anything I encounter. My focus can be absolute and I hope he takes this moment and integrates it into his own life.
My focus can be absolute and I hope he takes this moment and integrates it into his own life. It may be just a game, but maybe it can be something more too.
What Kind Of Writer Could You Be?
I don’t want to be the kind of writer who puts together meaningless expressions like my doppelganger shared like “Optimize and prioritize so that we can maximize.”
Granted that dude used those seven words as part of a post about writing and the importance of not being another member of the echo chamber.
He, I, we are in complete agreement about this.
The question isn’t what kind of writer am I now but what kind of writer can I be.
Old Jack Steiner’s tag line about being the original dad blogger was developed as a sarcastic reply to the dad blogger popularity contests of some years ago.
But I am not just a dad blogger.
I am more than that.
Not because there is anything wrong with being a dad blogger, it will always be part of the core but it is too small to define who and what I am now and will be.
I write about too many different things to limit myself and a guy like me is compelled not just to write, but to push, poke and prod.
It would be a mistake to imprison my mind in a cage I’ll never agree to live in.
Would You Recognize Me?
Many years ago I told The Shmata Queen that we had one of those rare connections where it would never be broken.
We could go for fifty years without speaking and pick up where we left off.
“My heart will always recognize yours.”
“How do you know that and how does it work?”
“I know things and you don’t really want me to prove it to you, do you.”
I share that moment with you because I have this funny feeling, this hope that one day someone will read my works and recognize me.
They’ll see more than words, they’ll see…me.
“Jack, we have something for you. We have a writing gig you can’t say no to you because you are the perfect person for it.”
And I’ll somehow know this is the click I have been waiting for and I’ll drop my guard and natural cynicism and walk towards the future.
But even though it might be a blank page I’ll move faster and faster towards that canvas because I can see the painting that doesn’t yet fill that empty canvas.
cathyjonest March 16, 2016 at 3:43 am
Speaking as a painter, I can tell you I face the same dilemma you do, often starting out in one direction and ending up in another. I guess it’s just part of the journey.Â
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Jack Steiner March 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm
I didn’t know you are a painter. That is very cool. I have tried to paint, never been particularly good at it, unless it is sort of a Jackson Pollock style.
Janine Huldie March 16, 2016 at 3:16 am
I am so the same way with my writing and usually have an idea and just from there to flesh it out on my blank writing canvas, too 😉
Jack Steiner March 16, 2016 at 9:03 pm
Fleshing it out as I go is my favorite way to write.